I’m making the use of my week off and tackling a mile long to do list — that’s just the kind of  vacationer I am. One thing I wanted to do this week was finally dive into some of the cookbooks I got for Christmas, but haven’t had the chance to use yet. Last night I poured over the Smitten Kitchen cookbook and decided to make her Harvest Roast Chicken with Olives and Grapes; holy moly was this delicious — and so simple too! You can find an adapted version of the recipe here.

Smitten Kitchen

Every party needs a signature cocktail, and an Oscar’s viewing party should be no exception. I mixed up a drink I’m calling the “Red Carpet Cocktail” just for the occasion. Pour a flute 3/4 of the way full of champagne and then add a few splashes of Rose’s grenadine for a colorful punch. Garnish with a cherry Twizzler wrapped around a bright red maraschino cherry and of course, a striped paper straw. (Looking for more Oscar’s Party ideas? Check out my post over on the Wayfair blog today!)Header ImageCocktailADSC_0039

I’ve been gearing up for a little event I like to call the “Super Bowl of Red Carpets” — ladies and gents (but probably mostly ladies), the Oscars are upon us. I’ve been digging around to find a perfect recipe for my mini celebration (read: me sitting on the couch by myself with a cocktail and snacks, ready to tweet my heart out), and let me tell you: I’ve been consumed by how many delicious things you can do to spice up regular popcorn. I’ve landed on a perfect blend of savory and sweet: popcorn drizzled in sea salt and honey butter (inspired by this recipe!), served it up in festive theater-style boxes so I feel like I’m at the movies! Do you have any Oscars-viewing traditions? Oscars Popcorn

I’m not going to lie, I really enjoyed being snowed in this weekend. It was such a great excuse to be lazy, watch movies (saw To Catch a Thief for the first time!), and of course make some delicious comfort food. As part of my ‘get-your-relax-on’ strategy I made one of my favorite indulgent concoctions that  I call ‘fat pasta’ (I’ll let you guess why). It was the perfect splurge for a cold wintry Sunday, yum! Sad to have to leave my house and deal with the aftermath of the storm today, I want my snow day to last for a just a little bit longer. DSC_0008 copyDSC_0025

Fat Pasta.
 
Ingredients
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • 1 Box of bowtie pasta
  • 3 Slices of bacon
  • 4 Cloves of garlic
  • Flour
  • 2 Boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Paprika
  • Onion Powder
  • Frozen peas
  • 1 Cup of light cream
  • Grated parmesan cheese
  • Granulated sugar
  • Salt & Pepper
Instructions
  1. Start a pot of boiling water
  2. Chop 3 slices of bacon into small bits, heat a skillet over medium heat and drizzle EVOO in pan, begin to brown the bacon
  3. Mince 4 cloves of garlic, add to pan
  4. Dredge cubed chicken in flour, season with paprika, onion powder, salt and pepper
  5. Add chicken to skillet and sauté (add EVOO as needed)
  6. Cook pasta as directed -- in the last two minutes of the pasta's cooking time, add in a handful of frozen peas, then drain and set aside
  7. Remove chicken, bacon and garlic mixture from pan and set aside, and melt 2 tbsp of butter in with leftover EVOO
  8. Whisk in 3 tbsp of flour until the mixture begins to thicken
  9. Whisk in 1 cup of light cream, 3 tbsp of parmesan cheese, and ¼ tsp of granulated sugar, continue to whisk until sauce thickens
  10. Stir in pasta and peas, top with chicken, bacon, garlic mixture.
  11. Season with salt and pepper, garnish with more parmesan.

 

Have I mentioned how much I love Valentine’s Day? It must be all the hearts and hot pink that sucks me in. I went paper crazy over the weekend, picking up some little cards and gifts and paper straws to get me in the spirit. And that heart cookie-cutter came in handy while making some  rice krispy treats a little extra special for a SuperBowl party on Sunday! What about you? Valentine day lover or hater?photo2photo

Need some more Valentine’s Day inspiration? Follow my Pinterest board here.

This year I’m serving up a punch for my signature cocktail: Champagne Clementine Fizz. It’s a little pink, and a little bubbly, and with the cute bows I found at the craft store to tie on my champagne glasses — it’s even a little glittery! Want to whip up a batch for yourself? In a large drink dispenser, combine two bottles of champagne — feel free to use the cheap stuff, I promise no one will know, one bottle of sparkling clementine soda (you can find this at Trader Joe’s) and a few ounces of St Germain or another elderflower liquor to taste. Mix it together and throw in some frozen cranberries for color and to keep the drink cool. Cheers to 2013!

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Baking can  be a daunting task when you have a tiny apartment kitchen, but I powered through the minimal counter space dilemma this weekend and made some mini pecan pie tarts. The recipe was simple and it was a nice relaxing way to spend my Sunday afternoon.  Now if only doing the dishes was as rewarding as popping those sweet little bites in my mouth!

This weekend I had major order envy when one of my girlfriends had an amazing eggplant caprese sandwich while we were out to lunch on Newbury Street. I was still thinking about yesterday afternoon and decided to make a salad version for dinner with my own twist. Breaded eggplant with some tomatoes and mozzarella, topped with sun-dried tomato pesto — it was such a nice combination of fresh summer flavors!

 

It has been a zillion degrees in my apartment for the past few weeks with this heat wave in Boston, which means I have been quite lazy with making dinners at home. I saw a recipe that required no stove time in this month’s  House Beautiful and it finally inspired me to cook something up besides take out. This recipe was a perfect simple summer meal;  I added on some grilled corn for a little extra color and flavor, and it turned out delicious!

My boyfriend bought me the new Gwyenth Paltrow cookbook, “My Father’s Daughter” and I have been reading it over and over again drooling over the delicious pictures inside. I bookmarked a few of the recipes to try out this week — a salad dressing and stuffed artichokes — and over the course of my cooking experiment I learned that:

1. Artichokes are very photogenic. Dinner may have been a bit late because of an impromptu photo shoot.

2. Gwyenth Paltrow  knows her way around a vinaigrette. I’m having dreams about her chive dressing.

3. Turns out, I don’t really love the taste of artichokes. But the French bread and tomato stuffing? Scrumptious.